Research Machines' Window Box series of machines has undoubtedly been one of the success stories of the last couple of years. In the future there will be the Internet Window Box but the latest launch is the Super Window Box.
There are people who look at the offerings from computer companies in newspapers and compare the prices with those asked for by RM. The price of this new machine (Pounds 1,999) will cause some more comparisons to be made.
RM argues that the real price of the hardware and software that make up this new Window Box on the open market would be more than Pounds 3,000, not counting installation and training costs which are included in the RM package.
Obviously the name, Super Window Box, was chosen with care and it is to be hoped that it will not put off modest infant and junior schools who are not used to having anything described as super - apart from staff. The Super Window Box is the Infant and Junior Window Box combined into one machine. The software from the two systems is there including: Talking First Word, Starting Grid, Colour Magic, Information Workshop, Illuminatus, Publisher, Point, My World, Counter, Numberpics, Smart Alex.
The strength of the PC type of computers is in the range of CDs that are available. In this offering there are 12 CDs for the primary area including Encarta 96, Dangerous Creatures, The Ultimate Human Body, The Way Things Work, My First Incredible Amazing Dictionary, PB Bear's Birthday Party, The Fish Who Could Wish, Maths Workshop, Speaking Starspell, A Christmas Story, Kiyeko and the Lost Night, and Dr Seuss's ABC. All the software and the CDs are set up and ready to run.
The Super Window Box is a PC 5100 with 16MB RAM, 800MB hard-drive, quad-speed CD drive, and a 28mm SVLR Monitor. The speakers have the power to handle multimedia sound. The Super Window Box, only available on Windows 95, includes the lower case keyboard from the Infant Window Box and is a full multimedia product.
At Pounds 1,999 who is the Super Window Box aimed at? RM feels that it is ideal for schools who want a resource that can be moved between year groups, or one that is stored in a central area. They also see it being used in small schools who can only afford to buy one computer, but have infant and junior pupils to cater for.
A new video, Using computers in the primary classroom, is available from RM. The video is free and can be ordered by ringing 01235 826868. It looks at the Window Box from the classroom perspective and introduces the software and discusses ways of using it in the curriculum.
* RM plc Stand 13